Taking the long way round – the other Paschat story, part two

Although we Paschats are a very spiritual people, we also love our creature comforts. At least I do. Something which has led me astray and gotten me into trouble a few times I’m sure (sorry!).

On the other hand, it helps me with understanding human beings. Where we do differ is in emotions – humans are a very watery species, whereas we are fire and earth. My own emotions tend to be triggered by matters of principle, justice in particular. Injustice for me is an insult to the natural order of things, an illogical equation. A disharmony. Real justice has an aesthetic quality to it.

Our elders, that’s to say the older souls in the Karidel, were, as you might expect, more towards the spiritual side of things than we Paetri. That’s why they took the shorter route to outer time. Naturally, they had fewer steps to go on the evolutionary path than us. They did, however, seem to enjoy their time-ship trips.

They were of course very wise. As I said, although I was aware that there was some purpose behind our catastrophe, I did not want to know. The Karidel, I believe, did recognise and acknowledge this, although they may not have known exactly what it was at the time, but they did know that our taking a different path was the right thing to do. We have a saying that you might understand – ‘everything happens at the right time’.

Aside from anything else, because our society had always been very ordered and disciplined, with one particular group taking care of the decisions, this meant that we Paetri, as with some of our other groupings, had not had the experience necessary for growing up further. By striking out on our own, then, we were essentially forced – or liberated, some might say – to learn how to make social decisions for ourselves. This is partly, of course, what helped us to become older souls.

Likewise, it helped us to learn what our purpose really was in much finer detail. It also explains my love of spacefaring. It really hasn’t been that long at all for me since I was doing it, so effectively, I may as well still have one paw in inner time. It’s easier for me to incarnate, in other words.

Suffice to say, we had to grow up fast.

So, as you will doubtless have already worked out, the planet selected to be our new home was Gaia (or Danuih, if you prefer). Approximately 120 million years or so ago is somewhere in the early part of your Cretaceous period. This explains why I was so fascinated with dinosaurs when I was young. I read Attenborough’s ‘Life on Earth’ from cover to cover when I was still a child, and for me, those animals were not long-extinct creatures, they were very real. I was also quite happy indeed when your visidrama Jurassic Park came out, despite the inaccuracies. The velociraptors, for example, did not look like that. The species we’re talking about here is actually Deinonychus, which are of the dromaeosaurid genus. They did not look like the ones in the movie, although their body shape was similar – presumably because dressing them up in their more accurate dark green-brown furry feathers would’ve made them much less scary. I agree, so we’ll call that artistic license.

Having said that, they were indeed vicious little whatnots.

I may be jumping ahead of myself here, I apologise.

Before we even arrived at Gaia we became aware that we would not be the only intelligent spacefaring species in the area. Out of politeness and diplomacy, therefore, it seemed only fitting to ask their permission, despite the fact that they were not originally from Gaia. The species I am talking about here is a reptilian species from the star you call Capella. I don’t remember what their own name for themselves was, so I’ll just refer to them as Capellans.

As an interesting aside here, those of you familiar with classical mythology may remember that Capella (the ‘little goat’) is associated with Amaltheia, who nursed the infant Zeus (who, as an infant, could be associated with the younger Horus of Egyptian lore, the child of Isis and Osiris). I’ll leave the rest of the thinking around that one to you.

Contrary to what some might believe about reptiloid species, they were extremely friendly. Likewise, they were very sympathetic to our situation, and so they agreed to help. Most pleasingly of all, they were quite a materialistic species in the same way that humans are, such that they did spacefaring in a way you would find familiar. Likewise their other technology. Although they were aware of the time-ship technology, they used more, let’s call it traditional, or conventional, methods, like what you might call electrogravitics. They also had nanotechnology and quantum computers you would understand, and this was our introduction to QAI-TI (quantum artificial intelligence – transcending interface).

The only real issue we had to overcome in our relocation was the so-called pathogen problem. Any one of those alien microbes, however harmless to Gaian life, would be fatal to us, since our immune systems wouldn’t recognise them. One of the usual results is something you might be familiar with from your Covid-19 pandemic – the body’s immune system goes into overdrive and creates a cytokine storm, meaning the body effectively attacks itself, leading to total organ failure. Not pleasant.

As I’ve said, we were not really prepared to have our fundamental nature drastically altered, so the Capellans helped us in a more conventional way. For a species as advanced as them, you would often favour the use of nanocytes, that’s to say microscopic robots (nanobots) sailing around your immune system, usually controlled by QAI-TI, who simply reprograms them when they encounter a foreign pathogen. Obviously this requires sufficient processing power, which she has. This, however, can also be a temporary measure – the nanocytes can be used to complement, rather than replace, your immune system, meaning that your body’s own natural defences can learn. This method, then, circumvents the need for drastic genetic engineering.

So that’s how we sorted that out.

You may be wondering how we dealt with all those vicious saurians? Perhaps some of you are conjuring up huge force shields like in that visidrama Forbidden Planet. Well, we didn’t really have to do much of that kind of thing, aside from swimming and nixing (that’s fishing, to you and me) – there were some rather huge and scary things in those oceans. We called them tsaaca (it’s onomatopoeic). Usually it was QAI-TI’s guardbots that did it, simply hovering around and delivering a short, harmless shock to any saurian that got too close. Also, animals are generally more intelligent than many people think, and quickly learned to avoid the strange furry two-leggers, tasty as we may seem from behind that treeline. Having said that, we did eventually create safe zones, particularly once our population increased.

This is another aspect of our separate evolutionary path. On Nebthwt, most Paschats would only have two kits (or cubs, if you prefer) in their lifetime, always twins. For us, however, after a while this changed. This was almost certainly something to do with the very different seasonal periods in our previous binary system, in which our orbital path would take us in a second, ‘long’ year in which the blue-white star (Sirius A/Isit) would be sometimes close, and then sometimes far. Your planet is not a binary system, however, so things are a lot simpler.

For me, having more than one mating season during an adult life was blissful and joyful. Most Paschat births were still twins, but occasionally there would be singletons or triplets. We made huge festivals out of it, with music and dancing and visisonar concerts.

Another way in which we evolved – because remember evolution never stops, it’s one of the immutable laws of the multiverse – was in our outward, physical appearance, although this took a very long time, as you can appreciate. I believe this long way round of ours lasted for some 270,000 years, so as you can imagine, lots can change in that amount of time. Essentially, we adapted to our new environment, which, although extremely pleasant, was a little hotter and wetter than Nebthwt. Those of you who have studied this planet’s environmental history will know that your CO2 levels were about three times as high then as they are now, and the temperatures were a good ten or more degrees higher (although obviously with variations according to your latitude). So eventually, we became less furry, with softer skin and more refined features. And, indeed, more colour variations. Which is all very lovely, of course.

We were also able to introduce some of our own species – some of our birds and our flowering plants. And we once again had vast and beautiful forests to live in and gorgeous warm lakes for swimming. We were able to smile again.

And so once we had established ourselves, and the Capellans had taught our engineering specialists all about their technology, we were ready to go and explore and widen our horizons in this new, larger world. On Nebthwt, although we were of course aware of the existence of other intelligences (but rarely interacted with them), we lived somewhat isolated, pleasant, holistic lives, and thought little of what you might call politics. After we met the Capellans, however, we realised just how multifarious and multicultural this galaxy really is. And this is how we came to understand our purpose.

It did take us some time to overcome our grief, and of course we never forgot, but we also knew that we did have a new home, and one which welcomed our love. Gaia loved us, and so we loved her in return. And we still do. My mother said I would learn to love again, and of course she was right.

I also came to understand, the more we learned about this galaxy, and its history, that the Old Ones who had condemned us to homelessness, with whom I had been so upset and distraught, had in fact given us a great gift – a purpose. That purpose being to love others, other planets, other species as if they were our own family. And without a purpose, immortality is much harder to come by. We have a reason for continuing to exist, and we have the freedom to choose how we go about it. Although we had lost our home, we survived, and we came to understand that all of the multiverse is our home, not just one place or one time. Reality is our responsibility.

One day, I believe, humanity will come to understand this too. They will understand that the suffering they have had to endure for thousands of years has had a purpose and a meaning to it, for it has made them stronger and more determined, they will discover that deep down, they are good, that they have remained good despite whatever horrors those evil ones have done to them. And once they are rid of them, as they will shortly be, they will be determined to protect and love others. They will understand, as we did, the point about intervention, once they begin to think in deep time.

And this determination to survive, well, that may have just doubled the lifespan of the species.

If I am remembering correctly, that period was a so-called quiet time in our sector’s history. Defined as a period when there are very few indigenous spacefaring species in a sector. I get the impression it’s rather busy right now. It did not take us that long at all to establish colony stations and settlements, meet everyone else, learn their culture and share ours with them, and make new friends.

We also discovered more primitive species, those who had mastered the art of making fire, but not yet discovered art, mathematics and interstellar travel. Those were the ones I found most fascinating. I made studies of them, of how they progressed – what you might call ‘psychohistory’. Over many, many lifetimes, I became an expert on the subject. So believe me, I think I understand humans all too well, as well as the interventions. That’s my job, in a way.

The first time we learned about these kinds of interventions in pre-spacefaring species was, ironically, when we met the Capellans. They were conducting their own little experiments with some of your saurians. Deinonychus being a case in point. I believe the Capellans had high hopes for these dromaeosaurids. They already had the vestiges of opposable digits, they were clever little hunters, and they could even climb trees. Unfortunately, as I have indicated, they were extremely vicious (that bit of Jurassic Park is, as it happens, not an inaccurate portrayal). They had a nasty habit of attacking things even when they weren’t hungry, knowing they’d be hungry later and thinking they could just come back for the carcass at a later date. Like foxes in henhouses. A species like that, if allowed to learn how to make fire and then develop the aforementioned capabilities (let alone gunpowder and calculus), is almost certain to become a serious, somewhat fascistic threat. Distressingly for the Capellans, as a reptilian species – a friendly reptilian species at that – they were somewhat outnumbered by us mammals – for whom loving social environments come more naturally, given the necessary survival adaptation that is maternal love. At some point, someone may have come to the decision that here on Gaia it was time to let the mammals have a chance, instead of this endless sequence of ultimately unfulfilling lizards. Maybe that decision got made 65 million years ago, maybe not. Anyway, I digress.

I believe that time-ship appeared some 250,000 years later. And I knew why it was here when I watched it coming towards us, before I even spoke to its occupants. When I greeted them in the docking bay, it was like looking into our own past. They looked just like Paschats used to be. And once I told them where and when they were, they understood too.

The circle had been completed. They only took a short cut.

There has been the most intimate of connections between the Gaian system and Sirius for much longer than you may think. We have aligned our energies. We are the younger Horus, who became the older. Some part of me wants to describe the Capellans like one of the depictions of the Egyptian god Set, with the head of what some say is a fantastical creature. But if I’m honest, I can’t say that for sure. But if you study some of those ancient stories, you will see the glimmers of truth in them.

So by the time they arrived, I too had become an old soul. We all had. Most of us had reunited with our essence, no longer incarnating. And there were so few of us left by then, perhaps no more than 20,000. I had come back to Gaia for my final Fade.

And then… well, I find myself analysing a strange, antique space probe with a lovely golden record shining back at me, like a sun disc. And its contents were really quite disconcerting.

Clearly, lots of stuff has happened in our sector in the intervening 120 million years. I think I’m rather looking forward to finding out all about it…

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